Sex offenders allowed to stay at hotels
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- It's a scary thought. The next time you're staying at a hotel with your family-- could there be a registered sex offender in the next room? The answer is yes. It is part of a state policy on how to handle these offenders, but is under new scrutiny.
"They ended up telling their sister, and the sister told mom, and mom went to the police, and I was arrested," says Ted.
"Ted" is a registered sex offender who was arrested for molesting two of his children. ABC7 agreed not to use his real name because he does not want his identity revealed. He served eight years in prison and was paroled last September. Ted now wears a GPS monitoring device and says he is remorseful.
"I was out of my mind," says Ted.
"I take full responsibility because of my choices. That's all I can say," says Ted.
Ted is one of eight registered sex offenders on Megan's list who live at the Travelodge motel in South San Francisco.
Leona Tavake found out they were here when she was making arrangements for her wedding at a nearby hotel. She checked Megan's list on the Justice Department's website. Megan's Law requires sex offenders to register with local police. They say there have been no reports of incidents involving those living at the Travelodge. Nevertheless, Tavake says the parolees still pose a danger.
"There's a swimming pool there. I mean, I wouldn't want to take my kids to a swimming pool knowing there are child molesters and sexual offenders. They might get into the pool with them and they might be watching them," says Tavake.
Megan's list has pictures of Ted, the other sex offenders and the address, but no indication it's a motel. Assemblyman Jeff miller says that information should be included on Megan's list.
"It's important that people staying at a motel where children are gathering have some form of communication that predators are at that location," says Assemblyman Jeff Miller (R) of Orange County.
Assemblyman Miller helped pass Jessica's Law, which says sex offenders can't live within 2,000 feet of a park or school. However, there are no restrictions on motels as long as they're outside that perimeter.
There are motels all over California which have contracts with the state to house parolees for a short time until they can find other places to stay and many of them are also sex offenders.
Attorney Keith Wattley heads Uncommon Law, a group that helps inmates and parolees. He says motels are often the only place sex offenders can live because Jessica's Law makes it difficult for them to find a home.
"They're forcing people to remain transient even if they have a home. People who own homes, if those homes are too close to a school or a park, they can't live there," says Wattley.
When asked if Ted had a hard time finding a place to live, he responded, "Always, always."
Ted lives on general assistance of $58 a month. He eats at soup kitchens. Because of his past, work is hard to find. Ted says if it wasn't for the Travelodge he'd be homeless.
The manager of the Travelodge declined to speak on camera, but told ABC7 the motel is doing a public service to the state by giving parolees a temporary place to stay. Ironically, both Tavake and Ted agree on one thing -- the law isn't working.
state, vic lee
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